On Controversial CBL Amended Act: Supreme Court Cites Lawmakers

By Alva Mulbah Wolokolie

The 53rd National Legislature has acknowledged receipt of a petition filed before the Supreme Court of Liberia.   Although President Pro-tempore Gbehzohngar  M. Findley could not give detail of the citation received from the highest court yesterday at the 12th day sitting of the Senate Plenary, but sources in the corridors of the Capitol Building informed legislative reporters that two lawyers, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould and Atty. Laveli  Supuwood are the petitioners behind the petition filed before Associate Justice in Chambers, Jamesetta Wolokolie.

But in a brief comment to his colleagues after receiving the court’s citation, Pro-tempore Findley said the Senate will discuss the content of the citation behind closed door and that copies of the document will be presented to all Senators before deliberating on the matter.

Sen. Findley however disclosed that River Gee County Senior Senator Fredrick Cherue along with the Senate’s legal counsel will be representing the Senate today, February 26, 2014 at the conference called for by the Supreme Court.

In the petition, the two lawyers have prayed the Supreme Court to determine the swift amendment of the Act establishing the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Governors and other Executives as unconstitutional.

The amended portion of the Act establishing the CBL on March 18, 1999 states that “The Executive Governor of the CBL and members of the Board of Governors shall be prohibited to contest political office(s) while serving in their respective offices and shall not be qualified to contest any electable office within three years consecutively after the expiration of their tenure and in his/her resignation from the Central Bank of Liberia.”

The Bill sponsored by Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Jallah, co-sponsored by Lofa County Senator Sumo Kupee and Grand Kru County Peter Coleman was endorsed by the Senate’s plenary February 13, 2014, followed by subsequent concurrence by members of the House of Representatives.

In the eyes of some political observers, the passage of the Act is targeted at forbidding the current CBL Governor, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones from participating in any elected post.

For several months now, Dr. Jones has embarked on a microeconomics loans scheme to petty traders and business people around the country. Most lawmakers have viewed his initiative as a quest for the presidential race in 2017.

Perhaps this is why those lawyers have decided to challenge the action of the Legislature before the highest court for interpretation of the law.

The Act has not been signed into law yet by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf since its passage by the Senate and concurrence by the House.